Obama touts his health reform ahead of court ruling



US President Barack Obama on Tuesday defended his healthcare reforms as a moral imperative that is now part of the fabric of America, as the Supreme Court prepared a ruling that could gut his signature program.

Obama — buoyed by data showing that 16 million fewer Americans now live without coverage — told a Catholic group that his reforms reflect American values and the kind of country the United States wants to be.

“America is not a place where we simply turn away from the sick or turn our backs on from the tired, the poor, the huddled masses,” Obama said.

“Five years in, what we’re talking about is no longer just a law,” he said.

As a result of the law, he said, Americans’ lives “are better. This is now part of the fabric of how we care for one and other.”

He hit out at the “cynicism” of those who want to take health care away from millions. Freedom does not mean the freedom to languish, he said.

His remarks were delivered to the long-supportive Catholic Health Association in the capital Washington.

But they may just as well have been directed at the nine Supreme Court Justices who have an oversized role in deciding his political legacy.

By the end of the month the court is expected to rule on whether “Obamacare” subsidies are legal.

An estimated seven million people who signed up via a government website have been afforded tax subsidies to make coverage more affordable.

Legal scholars say that a ruling against Obama would gut the law so thoroughly that it would be tantamount to striking down the measure altogether.

Obama — a former constitutional law lecturer — has also risked the justices’ ire by suggesting they were wrong to take up the case in the first place.

“There is no reason why the existing exchanges should be overturned through a court case,” he said in Germany.

“This should be an easy case. Frankly, it probably shouldn’t even have been taken up.”

Five years after Obamacare was passed, it remains a political football in Washington.

Republicans — who have repeatedly tried to legislatively eviscerate the “Affordable Care Act” — sharply question the program’s popularity.

They point to polls that show a majority of Americans want to see the law amended in some way, while Democrats tout surveys that find adamant opposition to the Supreme Court striking down subsidies.

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